The Food – a fact of life programme
Food – a fact of life (FFL) is a comprehensive, progressive education programme which communicates up-to-date, evidence-based, consistent and accurate messages around ‘food’ to all those involved in education. FFL is managed by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), in partnership with the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The education programme is founded on a whole school approach. It provides advice and guidance on policy matters relating to children's dietary requirements and provision of food throughout the school day. It ensures that wherever aspects of food and nutrition need to be taught within the formal curriculum, teachers and pupils have the opportunity to use the most innovative, effective and up-to-date resources available.
To ensure that the programme develops in line with teacher need, and curriculum and/or qualification changes, there are four Education Working Groups (EWGs) that meet annually to comment on the resources developed and training provided. There is one EWG in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Food – a fact of life programme was originally launched in 1991. It was a partnership between the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and government (the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) that lasted until 1997. Since this time, BNF has continued to develop the programme. In 2004, BNF worked with different levy boards around the UK to develop a website for primary schools. From 2005, BNF extended the website to cover nursery aged children, as well as pupils aged 11 to 16 years. From October 2018, FFL is supported by a partnership of the BNF and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). The partnership continues to provide evidence-based support around food to schools, as well as training to teachers.
To support excellence in food teaching and learning, the materials provided on the FFL website have been developed to support the curricula and qualifications in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition, the Core Competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years have been used as a guide to support progression from 3 to 16 years.
3 to 14 years
For each age phase, i.e. 3-5, 5-7, 7-11 and 11-14 years, a progressive learning framework has been constructed to support learning around the following key learning areas: healthy eating, cooking, where food comes from and food commodities. Learning progresses from one age phase to another, consolidating prior learning and extending to include new concepts, knowledge and skills. Progression can be mapped via age or learning areas.
The framework provides a journey to support a child’s food learning throughout their school career. For the teacher, it provides a series of activities and lessons, supported by classroom appropriate resources.
It is recognised that some pupils will require further support and others may need additional ‘stretch’. Therefore, the ages on the website act only as a guide; for example, resources in the 11-14 years area could be used in a primary school to challenge more able pupils or resources from the 7-11 years area used to support older pupils with special education needs. The choice and use of resources is at the discretion of the teacher who will use their professional judgement and knowledge of their pupils’ abilities.
Based on a review of key ‘food’ related specifications, such as GCSE, National 5 and Level 2 qualifications, and Technical Awards, a number of overlapping areas of knowledge and skills were identified. In this age phase, resources are provided for the teacher to use with their pupils at their own discretion based on their teaching requirements and specification. Resources include teacher notes, presentations, worksheets, videos and quizzes. These have been devised to build on from the 3 – 14 years age phases. In addition, to help save the teacher time, a number of specifications have been analysed and direct hyperlinks to key resources have been identified.
Recipes can be searched through a number of filters:
Complexity: A set of criteria have been devised by FFL to provide an objective rating for the complexity of our recipes. The criteria is based on the number of ingredients, the number of actions, the complexity of processing an ingredient (such as it being a high risk food or a term that describes multiple actions), the complexity of these actions (often linked to accuracy), and the duration of preparation. The analysis of each recipe, using this criteria, results in a score which is then translated into a useful descriptor: low, low-medium., medium, medium-high and high.
Age: This has been provided to give guidance on the appropriateness of a recipe for different age groups. This is based on the experience of the FFL programme with working with children and young people. Of course, the teacher will need to make the final decision – as they better understand the knowledge, skills and experience of the pupils they teach.
Heat: This has been added to allow teachers a quick way of finding recipes suitable for their circumstances or teaching objectives. For example, a primary school teacher may not have easy access to an oven so requires a selection of ‘non-cook’ recipes. A secondary school teacher may wish to focus on the safe use of the hob.
British Nutrition Foundation
New Derwent House
69-73 Theobalds Road
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Telephone: 024 7669 2051
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